Fire Chief Michael Durkin has a lot of reading to do.
The township has received 26 responses for a request for qualifications for architects to work on plans for a new central fire station. Durkin said he was surprised at the response the township received.
''I figured I'd only get 10 or 12,'' Durkin said. ''It's good for me. It gives me more to look at.''
The department has two stations, one on Belmont Avenue near Tibbets-Wick Road and another on Loganway. There are maintenance issues with both buildings.
The Belmont Avenue station was ravaged by flooding in 2003, and Federal Emergency Management Agency money had to be used for repairs. There are cracks in the bricks in the Loganway station, which makes it harder to heat.
Responses came from as far away as Minnesota, as well as New York, Columbus and Dayton, Durkin said. He said he thinks the state of the economy may have led to the number of high responses and from places far out of state.
Durkin said he hopes to narrow the pool of firms down to three or four within the next two weeks and then begin interviews with the finalists.
The township has discussed using federal stimulus money to build a new station, but Durkin said there are other routes available. He said the Ohio Township Association has a lease program for fire stations, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has a grant/loan program as well.
''We have a lot of options,'' Durkin said.
Durkin also said a bond could be sought by the township to pay for a new station, but he called that ''a last resort.''
One property being considered is in front of the township Administration Building on state Route 304 or land beside it that the township purchased a few years ago.
Besides responding to calls in the township, a station must also have a good location to respond to mutual aid calls. The department has several mutual aid contracts.